The “Lunatic Fringe” Dean Ambrose and the WWE Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens headline this week’s episode of Thursday Night SmackDown. The November 4 edition of WWE’s secondary show also features an eight-man elimination match featuring the Wyatt Family. As noted by WWE.com’s official SmackDown preview:
Thursday night on SmackDown, Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens will engage in a furious showdown against Dean Ambrose. Plus, The Lucha Dragons & The Prime Time Players will battle The Wyatt Family in a Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match.
But there will definitely be a lot more than that packed into the two hours of sports entertainment. Below, you will find a spoiler-free, match-by-match preview of what is in store for this week’s SmackDown.
- Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens. Last week, Owens had the chance to square off against WWE’s newest chosen one, Roman Reigns. Of course, as the going got tough, Owens decided to pack things up and leave, giving Reigns the decision by count out. This week, SmackDown is headlined by Kevin taking on Reigns’ former Shield brother, Dean Ambrose. With no challenger declared for Owens’ Intercontinental Championship at Survivor Series — and Dean with no current storyline — could this be some seed-planting for a match the WWE Universe would love to see at the November PPV? Or is this simply filler for Thursday night? The friendly disposition they showed for their Table For 3 episode with Cesaro surely won’t be seen in this match.
- The Wyatt Family vs. Prime Time Players & The Lucha Dragons — Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match. As the WWE tries to find a remedy for SmackDown‘s low ratings, this week’s SmackDown hopes to capitalize on perhaps the most talked-about segment from Monday Night Raw. After carrying off both Undertaker and Kane to undisclosed locations, Bray Wyatt showed the WWE Universe on Monday exactly how extreme his powers are now.
- Alberto Del Rio vs. Neville. Since John Cena’s weekly “US Open Challenge” was consistently one of the highest-rated segments on Monday Night Raw, they needed to put the title on someone that could garner as much interest in the belt as Cena did. So they brought back Alberto Del Rio, teamed him up with mouth-piece Zeb Coulter, and then hoped that the WWE Universe would never question how Cena went down for a three-count after a back-cracker and a kick to the face. As reported by the Christian Post, Alberto Del Rio makes about $500k per year under his new contract with WWE (not the previously reported $1.45 million per year). Both ADR and Neville are fantastic in-ring competitors, so this should give us a good indication as to whether or not Del Rio was worth the price.
- The Usos vs. The Ascension. Bleacher Report is just one of many internet sources who believe The Usos will challenge The New Day now that both Jimmy and Jey are healthy again. The New Day have already worked programs with the Prime Time Players and The Dudley Boyz. The Usos have a lot of momentum coming back to WWE, and it’s very possible that they’ll be challenging for the tag titles at Survivor Series. The Ascension, on the other hand, haven’t really clicked on the main roster yet. You’ve got to believe Rikishi’s twins go over here.
- Natalya vs. Tamina Snuka. WWE has done a good job of making Natalya’s attacker a little bit of a mystery. It seemed at first like it had to be Paige. But when she did not confess to the crime, and then Team B.A.D. started attacking Tyson’s wife, it opened a new possibility. And if there are at least two possibilities, then there’s also the chance that both possibilities are just distractions from surprise attacker. However Team B.A.D. and Sasha Banks work into the story, the match set for SmackDown is between two women who grew up watching their fathers become stars in the WWE. Will the last female to graduate from the Hart Dungeon be able to take down the muscle of Tamina Snuka and Team B.A.D.?
- Ryback vs. King Barrett. On the one hand, you have the most recent former Intercontinental Champion, who failed to get over after holding the legendary belt for almost four months. On the other hand, you have this year’s King of the Ring, whose reign has had about the same impact on his career as it did for King Mabel or William Regal, rather than the fantastic things it did for guys like King Booker or “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. With the absence of top stars like John Cena, Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan, up-and-coming faces have been given a chance to step up. I guess this is Ryback’s chance.
WWE’s Thursday Night SmackDown airs at 8:00 EST on on Syfy. This episode of SmackDown will also be available for on-demand streaming starting Friday morning via Hulu Plus.
[Image via WWE]